November 23, 2009
Duane Draughon's military experience trained him to be loyal, under any and all circumstances, to his original mission. And in a recent article in Fortune Small Business, he claims that training is the only reason his small business has survived.
Draughon's story is one of quick success and then a series of unfortunate events that crippled his business and caused his net worth to plummet. First Draughon's business partner made an unanticipated exit from the company, a devastating loss as he was one of company's best sales people and also served as a crew chief (Draughon's company builds patios). This also meant all the day-to-day responsibilities of running the business fell on one person's shoulders, the result? Draughon began to mismanage costs for the company and before he knew it, he and the company were broke.
Duane's position is one that thousands of entrepreneurs have found themselves in. Just by its very nature, starting a business or running a small company involves massive amounts of risk. Unexpected issues constantly rear their heads whether that be disagreements with business partners, malfunctions with product production, legislation interfering with operations or turmoil in financial markets.
A part time CFO would have helped Draughon a great deal. Being able to sit down with someone who has knowledge of the financial markets as well as the background to offer accounting advice would have helped furnish Duane with the perspective and financial expertise he needed to still manage the business well.
Eventually, Draughon did meet with a management consultant and a financial expert to assess where his company stood and create a business strategy to move it forward. Outside help boasts expertise the business owner may not have as well as an impartial third party who isn't emotional about the success or failure of the venture. Both of those aspects make business consultants a great option when seeking a way out of a sticky situation.